Jack of All Traits, Master of NONE!
I get a lot of questions regarding where someone should start. My first questions back are where are you now? What do you do? Believe it or not, most people are experts at something. Even harder to believe is that there are people who are willing to compensate you for your subject matter expertise. The hard question is, what can you handle in your current employment state? Chances are, you already work too much, and have little time to even think about a startup, let alone run one. So my advice is to find something, and get laser focused on that “thing”. Do the due diligence, see what the market trends are, find out what people are willing to pay for your widget, commodity or service. Talk to everyone. Write down a plan, with short, mid, and long term goals and start ticking them off.
Now the hard part. Stick with it! If you change vectors every time a shinny object comes into view, your business will reflect that. The riches are in the niches! Find your niche and exploit it. You don’t have to be IBM to develop cutting edge software. I have a business associate who is developing an iPhone app for real estate investors. Its specific, there is a market and he is going to pounce when its released later this year.
When I started investing in real estate, I found an underserved segment of the population that was being alienated by government bureaucracy. I have found that as I serve this population, I am rewarded tremendously. However, I have been tempted by the possibility of higher margins to look elsewhere for deals. The problem is that all of my systems, all of my teams are focused on this segment. If I transition to another, it will take a massive investment of time and energy to create what I already have in place, thus mitigating the bigger margins and profits.
Will I diversify? Of course I will. I have some near term goals I need to hit first. When I do venture into other businesses, It will be on my terms and timeline. I wont be chasing a market, I’ll be executing a plan.
Chasing shinny objects, other’s profits, or a fantasy market is alluring. However, focus on what you do, where you add value? How can you serve a specific market? Once you answer those questions you can cash in. Once you cash in, diversify by executing a plan similar to the one you executed in the first place, leading with due diligence and market study.
Your biggest enemy is not getting off the ground, and once you get off the ground, losing focus on what you do best. Get your sights focused, pull the trigger and build something bigger!